A Call to Close Guantánamo on the 10th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan

As the war in Afghanistan begins its second decade, the reasons for it to be brought to an end are compelling — the ruinous financial cost ($460 billion and counting), the ruinous human cost (over 1,400 US military deaths, and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians killed), and the utter pointlessness of the occupation itself. Having driven out al-Qaeda and the Taliban within a few months of the invasion, the US military, has, for most of the last ten years, been bogged down fighting a regrouped Taliban and an array of other Afghan “insurgents,” fighting to free their country from foreign occupation.

A fourth reason, less generally noticed, is that the Afghan war led to the creation of Guantánamo, a prison touted by the Bush administration as a facility for holding “the worst of the worst,” but in reality a brutal and failed experiment, which never held more than a small number of genuine terror suspects, but, which, nonetheless, has proved resistant to calls for its closure.

Around three-quarters of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo were seized as a result of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, either in Afghanistan itself, or after crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan after the US-led invasion, where the authorities (up to and including President Pervez Musharraf) were particularly interested in the bounty payments offered by the US military for al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects. As President Musharraf admitted in his 2006 autobiography, In the Line of Fire, in return for handing over 369 terror suspects to the US, “We have earned bounty payments totaling millions of dollars.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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